Gone Bollywood: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
In a long opening sequence, all artfully black and white, a mother fusses over her little lad. This goes on for a really long time and I get a bit of crochet in … until catching the name Farah Khan in the choreography credits makes me do a little happy clap and drop my crochet hook.
Everybody is in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). It’s like IIFA, as a film.
Everybody starts with Hrithik Roshan, Diet Coke ad in actor form. Hrithik’s opening voiceover suggests that ‘actor’ is a loose term here. Slab of wood might be more apt. But! Fortunately his appearance in the first half of the film is just a device to introduce the “things that happened ten years ago” story of …
One of the greatest romantic couples of allllll tiiiiime are here Rahul and Anjali. (Yes, just like they were in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. There’s even an appearance from the cute Sikh boy. KJo, you postmodernist, you.)
Shahrukh was the little lad in the opening sequence. His Dad is Amitabh Bachchan, who lives in a castle and flies around in helicopters. The family also has Mum Jaya Bachchan (easy for Amitabh to remember), brother Hrithik (as played by a plump teen), and Rani Mukherji (appearing in early Rani bling-and-breasts mode). It takes me a while to work out why Rani is there. Does every average, normal, castle-dwelling Indian family have a Rani Mukherji of their very own? Eventually I figure out that she’s bride material for Shahrukh.
This discussion of Rani Mukherji is, however, more substantial than her role in the film, for as soon as Shahrukh decides that she needn’t pop out for henna, she’s off.
Rani’s exit is inevitable once Shahrukh meets Kajol (in a comic case of mistaken identity). She’s common, breaks vases and can spectacularly put her foot in it. He’s swiftly smitten. Their falling in love number, Yeh Ladka Hai Allah, is truly delightful.
Of course, it all turns promptly to custard because Dads who live in castles don’t want their sons to marry vase-smashing goofs. Cue the central plot line of the film in which Shahrukh and Kajol are exiled and years later Hrithik learns the tragic tale and determines to bring the family back together again.
Though Kajol spends the 2nd half of the film squeezed into the role of over-protective Indian mother abroad, there are some glorious moments where she merrily milks the script (fuelling my theory that Kajol is a higher being who laughs at us all).
Aaaanyway, there will of course be a happy ending. As we inch towards family reunion, there is a deeply powerful scene where Jaya Bachchan takes on Amitabh without even looking at him. (I can’t find it on youtube, alas.) What can he do but admit he’s been a pillock?
And so they all get together again.
And I end the review realising that I haven’t mentioned Say Shava Shava.